Maureen Ryan's "Watcher" article in The Chicago Trib on WHY NBC HATES US? is worth reading. I often wonder the same things as I sit through the prime time schedule in master control. As for the question as to why NBC ordered a full season of "Knight Rider," the answer to that one is easy. Product placement. "Knight Rider" is a barely disguised commercial for the Ford Mustang and other Ford products, romping about in a live action cartoon. You know Ford is ponying up (pun intended) the production costs to make sure the real star of the show gets plenty of screen time.
A writer's observation: notice how the car is gifted with the ability to transform into any four-wheel vehicle of the Ford family - the easier to update the 'Tang to the 2010 model should the need arise, without a plot device. In the original "Knight Rider" KITT had to be wrecked in order to update the Trans Am. (A pointless exercise, since GM product designs tend to evolve at a glacier pace.) Note how KITT has evolved from the 2008 model.
So, if McCain wins the election, will Ford team up with a network to bring back "Maverick?"